By Eddie Jorgensen
ZZ Top, the bearded bad boys from Texas, have been consummate road dogs ever since 1969. After 15 full-lengths – the latest, ‘La Fortura,’ produced by Rick Rubin – its original members Billy Gibbons and Frank Beard are still putting on the mileage.
Once a darling of FM radio in the 1970s, ZZ Top achieved success with its seminal hits “Tush,” “Cheap Sunglasses,” “Pearl Necklace” and “La Grange.”
But the touring came with a cost. According to reports, marred by drug addiction and exhaustion that nearly broke up the band, Beard went into rehab after the conclusion of a 98-city ‘Worldwide Texas Tour.’ During this period, late bassist Dusty Hill took a job at Texas airport. Thankfully, the band regrouped after a near two-year hiatus and came out swinging with the Platinum-selling ‘Deguello.’
At that point, more commercial records like ‘Eliminator,’ ‘Afterburner,’ and ‘Recycler’ finally catapulted ZZ Top into being a household name and attracted a whole new cadre of hungry Southern rock fans.
The current tour heading for Sacramento finds the band co-headlining with Lynyrd Skynyrd, who suffered the loss of their last original member, guitarist Gary Rossington, back in March. And while no original players remain, Skynyrd seems to be firing on all cylinders with longtime singer Johnny Van Zant and Blackfoot’s guitarist Rickey Medlocke. Once more, the current touring version of Skynyrd has the blessing of Rossington’s wife.
The upcoming ZZ Top and Lynyrd Skynyrd show at Toyota Amphitheatre on Aug. 11 kicks off with Uncle Cracker. Lawn seats start at just $34.50 while center-stage tickets top out at $298.75 and can be purchased at www.livenation.com. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and show starts at 6:30 p.m. All ages are welcome. The Toyota Amphitheatre is located at 2677 Forty Mile Road in Wheatland.